Handicapping Your MBA Odds

He’s a 26-year-old African American in a leadership rotational program at a leading corporation. With a 710 GMAT and a 3.1 grade point average, he believes an MBA degree will help him achieve his goal of becoming a senior executive in a Fortune 100 company.

An Eagle Scout, this 27-year-old software engineer at General Dynamics had led several technical teams on critical assignments. With a 720 GMAT and a 3.7 GPA, he wants an MBA to assist his transition into technology consulting.

He’s a professional rock climber who has scaled many big peaks in the Himalayas. A market research analyst on the clean tech industry for Bloomberg, this 26-year-old is hoping the MBA degree will allow him to transition to a top strategy consulting job.

Sandy Kreisberg, HBS Guru, in Harvard Square

What these MBA candidates share in common is the goal to get into one of the world’s best business schools. Do they have the raw stats and experience to get in? Or will they get dinged by their dream schools?

Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com, is back again to analyze these and a few other profiles of actual MBA applicants who have shared their vital statistics with Poets&Quants.

As usual, Kreisberg handicaps each potential applicant’s odds of getting into a top-ranked business school. If you include your own stats and characteristics in the comments, we’ll pick a few more and have Kreisberg assess your chances in a follow-up feature.

(Please add your age and be clear on the sequence of your jobs in relaying work experience. Make sure you let us know your current job.)

Sandy’s tell-it-like-it-is assessment:

Mr. Fortune 100

  • 710 GMAT
  • 3.71 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in business and accounting from a private liberal arts college
  • Work experience includes three and one-half years in a leadership rotational program at a Fortune 100 company; in such areas as financial planning & analysis, corporate accounting and treasury
  • Extracurricular involvement as a mentor to high school seniors; led a finance workshop for minority teens
  • Goal: To become a senior executive in a Fortune 100 corporation; also “would like to improve the financial literacy of the entire free world”
  • 26-year-old, African-American male, first generation college graduate

Odds of Success:

Harvard: 40+%
Stanford: 35+%
Wharton: 45+%
Chicago: 50+%
Kellogg: 50+%
Carnegie Mellon: 60+%
Michigan: 60+%
Columbia: 50+%
New York: 60+%

Sandy’s Analysis: Hey buddy, this one is easy since you touch all the stations of the cross: GPA (3.71)-GMAT (710)-Fortune 100 Rotational Program and Fortune 100 Job (after that)-Black-Do Gooder.

Guys like you get admitted and dinged at HBS and Stanford depending on serviceable execution and recommendations, and not screwing up the interview at HBS.  As noted here often, the Stanford interview barely counts and was implemented as outreach to their under-employed alums (who do them)  and because candidates wanted it — so a two-fer for the adcom,  with nobody interviewing nobody as far as they are concerned.

You are also strong at Wharton although the interview process there is slightly more serious. The new “Zen” HBS app is a gift to you since you can use your financial literacy campaign as one answer and then come up with some “work” story for the other. I’d combine the first-gen college angle into the financial literacy story. At schools like Chicago, Kellogg, Tepper, Ross, Columbia it should just be a matter of convincing them you want to come.

“Universal financial literacy” is a great banner to fly, though I would not make it the centerpiece of your long-term goals. All that said, you got a solid and tight story and if your Fortune 100 company gets behind you with detailed and enthusiastic recommendations, you should have great success in this process.